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Emergency Medical Responders and Administering Naloxone

posted on Wed, Jul 9 2014 12:47 pm by Southeastern Region

A state representative recently contacted the Network to ask what states allow police and basic emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to carry and administer naloxone.

Naloxone is a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdose. It works by binding onto opioid receptors and disrupting the effect of the opioid. Permitting police and EMTs to administer naloxone can reduce time to overdose response, possibly saving lives.

The Network researched the issue and found that all 53 jurisdictions licensed or certified emergency medical service (EMS) personnel at the paramedic level, and all permitted paramedics to administer naloxone. Forty-eight jurisdictions license or certify personnel between the EMT and paramedic level (although not all states refer to this level as “EMT”). All but one of these jurisdictions (Mississippi) authorize mid-level EMS personnel to administer naloxone.

As of November 1, 2013, twelve jurisdictions (California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) explicitly permitted EMTs to administer naloxone. Additionally, New York, Wisconsin, and Delaware permitted EMTs participating in approved pilot programs to administer naloxone.

At least four states (Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, and Oklahoma) extended naloxone access to EMTs in 2013. In some states agency medical directors may authorize trained EMS personnel acting under their direction to practice beyond the statewide scope. Peoria, Illinois has used this authority to adopt a protocol that permits EMTs to administer naloxone. As of November, 2013, only two states (Maryland and Ohio) explicitly permit emergency medical responders (EMRs) to administer naloxone.

As of July 2014, law enforcement officers in at least fifteen states (CA, MA, MD, MN, GA, IL, ME, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, RI, WI, VT)  carry naloxone. In some states such as Maine and Ohio the state legislature passed a law explicitly permitting law enforcement officers to carry naloxone,  but  in most states police carry the medication under an interpretation of general state naloxone access laws or other authority.

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